Criminally insane man kills again after light sentence

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A Taipei County man, who was declared criminally insane seven years ago for murdering two young girls, was charged with the brutal killing of a young mother a year after his release, after serving only six years in jail. The identity of the suspect, surnamed Chen, is concealed due to his patient status as he is clinically diagnosed as mentally ill.

Taipei County police investigations revealed that on Oct. 19, Chen brutally battered and killed a 26-year-old mother, surnamed Lin, in her rented apartment in Banciao City after luring her there with a job ad looking for a betel-nut sales girl. “The devil made me do it,” Chen said upon his arrest, according to local media reports yesterday. It was the same line he gave to the Banciao District Court seven years ago when he was on trial for drugging and murdering two elementary school-aged sisters. Chen was given a lenient sentence of 12-years imprisonment, of which he served six before being released on July 3 last year. According to police reports, Lin disappeared on Oct. 19 after arranging to meet with a “Mr. Hsieh” at the Family Mart on Shanming Road in Banciao City. When she failed to return by 11 p.m., her worried family reported her missing to the police. However, it would be two more days before anyone would have any clue of her whereabouts. By 12 p.m. last Saturday, Lin’s family had enlisted the help of Taipei County investigators, who retrieved the missing woman’s phone records and traced to it to Chen’s residence. When officers discovered that Chen was a recently released convict responsible for two vicious deaths, they quickly hailed towards his abode.

When officers opened Chen’s door, the stench of decaying flesh allegedly overpowered them. They found Lin’s battered corpse under the covers in his bedroom. They also came across ropes, duct tape, over eight metal rods and 10 wooden ones, and a recent receipt for four mid-sized refrigerators. Officers determined that Chen had used up four rods when he beat Lin to death and that the refrigerators were likely purchased to store and transport Lin’s body. Chen was described as soft-spoken and articulate, although he kept reminding the police under questioning that he was psychotic and claimed “another person was present” during the killing or that the “the devil inside me made me do it.” Convicts who are declared mentally ill are required by law to serve their prison term and then receive medical help after they are released. Upon his 2009 release, Chen was allegedly transferred to the Beitou Armed Forces Hospital and should have been in the hands of doctors until July 2011. How he was able to commit murder while placed in hospital care is pending investigation, with the hospital’s spokesperson claiming that they were unsure whether Chen was assigned to their facilities.

The controversial case caused many to question the current criminal court system, with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) privately acknowledging its loopholes that allow criminals to get off with light sentences and commit future crimes. In the case of Chen, many have argued that his insanity claim was outrageous given the amount of premeditation in his crimes.